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10 truly classy tech gifts for US$50 or less

Michael Ansaldo | Nov. 24, 2015
These hot-ticket holiday items won't bust your budget.

Overspending is as much a holiday tradition as caroling, fruitcake, and drunken dinnertime political rants. But you don’t have to break the bank when shopping for the tech lovers on your list. We’ve rounded up ten truly classy PC and mobile accessories that cost $50 or less. You’ll be sure to delight any gadget-lover, and still have money left over to buy something cool for yourself.

JVC HA-S400-B headphones

High-end headphones can easily cost as much or more than the audio devices they’ll be connected to, but cheap ones typically sound—well, cheap. This stylish set from JVC ($39.95) is an exception, delivering warm, dynamic sound with deep bass and solid highs. The headphones’ diaphragm design, which uses carbon nanotubes, is (per JVC) stronger than plastic or metal versions, but also more flexible, to help reduce sound distortion.

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JVC HA-S400 headphones pack a punch at a modest price. Credit: JVC

Though not noise-cancelling, the headphones offer enough sound isolation that you can actually reduce the volume on your device in noisy environments. The soft ear pads make them comfortable to wear for hours at time. The nearly four-foot cord is thick and durable and attaches with an L-shaped plug, making it virtually impervious to snags on bike handles, gym equipment, and other hazards. The hinged headband lets you fold them flat for safer stowing. We tried them in black but they’re also available in white, and they’re a great option for music lovers who prefer on-ear cans.

Shure SE112 Sound Isolation Earphones

We never thought we’d write “budget buds” and “great sound” in the same sentence until we tried Shure’s $49 SE112 in-ear phones. They deliver meaty bass without booming, and a balanced sound that compares well with the quality of earphones at twice the price.

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Shure’s SE112 Sound Isolation Earphones deliver high-end sound in a comfortable fit. Credit: Shure

As the name boasts, these phones were designed to erase the sounds of the outside world. Key to this are the sound-isolating sleeves, which are included in small, medium, and large sizes for tailored comfort and the tight seal that’s critical for getting the best sound. They’re sturdy, too: Unlike most earbuds, which come with thread-thin wires, the SE112s have a thick rope of black cable that should keep the wiring secure even if you forget to put them back in their drawstring carrying pouch.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480

The pursuit of productivity has most everyone jumping from device to device throughout the day. Who wouldn’t want one keyboard to rule them all? The $50 K480 is designed to work with all major operating systems—Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android. You can pair up to three devices and switch among them with a twist of a dial.


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